Need for Multilevel Strategies and Enhanced Acceptance of Contraceptive Use in Order to Combat the Spread of HIV/AIDS in a Muslim Society: A Qualitative Study of Young Adults in Urban Karachi, Pakistan

Syed Farid-ul- Hasnain, Eva Johansson, Saleema Gulzar, Gunilla Krantz

Abstract


This qualitative study explored knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions of sexual and reproductive health, focusing specifically on contraceptive use and HIV prevention among young unmarried men and women, 17-21 years, in urban Karachi, Pakistan. The main theme, identified as underlying meaning in the focus group discussions was “Societal norms and perceptions create barriers to knowledge and awareness about sexual and reproductive health matters among young adults”. A knowledge gap was revealed concerning HIV/AIDS and contraceptive use among young males and females, who have to rely on media and peers for information seeking. Study participants perceived that HIV/AIDS is incurable and carries a social stigma. It was further revealed, that there is an opposition towards contraceptive use from religious leaders. Young adults in Pakistan are in need of improved knowledge about HIV/AIDS and contraceptive use. Youth clinics and schools/colleges may play a significant role in this regard. The religious leaders need to be informed about the beneficial effects of contraceptives and they should be part of any family planning/contraceptive use program to ensure better community acceptance. At the structural level there is an urgent need for policies targeting the issue of sexual and reproductive health, particularly HIV/AIDS information and contraceptive use to target the young population. The health care services should be able to respond by offering relevant services.


Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/gjhs.v5n5p57

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Global Journal of Health Science   ISSN 1916-9736(Print)   ISSN 1916-9744(Online)

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